Simple Rules (Hardcover)

How to Thrive in a Complex World

By Donald Sull, Kathleen M. Eisenhardt

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780544409903, 288pp.

Publication Date: April 21, 2015

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (4/19/2016)
Compact Disc (4/19/2016)
MP3 CD (4/19/2016)
MP3 CD (4/21/2015)
Compact Disc (4/21/2015)

List Price: 27.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Complexity surrounds us. We have too much email, juggle multiple remotes, and hack through thickets of regulations from phone contracts to health plans. But complexity isn’t destiny. Sull and Eisenhardt argue there’s a better way. By developing a few simple yet effective rules, people can best even the most complex problems.
In Simple Rules, Sull and Eisenhardt masterfully challenge how we think about complexity and offer a new lens on how to cope. They take us on a surprising tour of what simple rules are, where they come from, and why they work. The authors illustrate the six kinds o f rules that really matter - for helping artists find creativity and the Federal Reserve set interest rates, for keeping birds on track and Zipcar members organized, and for how insomniacs can sleep and mountain climbers stay safe.
Drawing on rigorous research and riveting stories, the authors ingeniously find insights in unexpected places, from the way Tina Fey codified her experience at Saturday Night Live into rules for producing 30 Rock (rule five: never tell a crazy person he’s crazy) to burglars’ rules for robbery (“avoid houses with a car parked outside”) to Japanese engineers mimicking the rules of slime molds to optimize Tokyo’s rail system. The authors offer fresh information and practical tips on fixing old rules and learning new ones.
Whether you’re struggling with information overload, pursuing opportunities with limited resources, or just trying to change your bad habits, Simple Rules provides powerful insight into how and why simplicity tames complexity.

About the Author

DONALD SULL is a global expert on strategy and execution in turbulent markets. He is a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and was formerly a professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the London Business School, where he won three teaching awards. He earned his bachelor's, master's, and doctorate from Harvard University. He has published three award-winning books, ten best-selling Harvard Business Review articles, and over one hundred case studies, articles, and book chapters on strategy and execution in turbulent markets. The Economist identified his theory of active inertia as an idea that shaped business management over the past century and Fortune listed him among the ten new management gurus.

KATHLEEN M. EISENHARDT is the S. W. Ascherman Professor of Strategy at Stanford, a highly cited author, and the co-director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. Her research focuses on strategy, strategic decision making, and organizational design in highly uncertain markets. She is the coauthor of Competing on the Edge: Strategy as Structured Chaos, winner of the George R. Terry Book Award. A fellow of the World Economic Forum and the Clinton Global Initiative, she is also the first author featured in Harvard Business Review’s On Point collections. She holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering, an M.S. in computer science, and a Ph.D. from Stanford's Graduate School of Business.  

Praise For Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World

“One of 12 leadership books to watch for in 2015” -- Washington Post 

"One of Wall Street's Must-Read Books of the Summer”---Bloomberg Businessweek

“Whatever you want in life can be achieved if you break it down into a few basic rules. Well, that’s the theory of these two business experts, and many influential figures think likewise.” --The Times of London

“Can’t convey enough how important this is… Simple Rules is the nerd book of the summer.”  –Tom Keene, Bloomberg TV

"At last, a book offering an ingenious way to fight back against the relentless assault of complexity and its insidious spawning of untold confusions, costs, crashes, and calamities. Simple Rules offers an exciting framework for both understanding complexity and rendering it harmless. Whether you run an organization or are simply trying to survive modern life, this book is gold." —Chris Anderson, TED curator

Simple Rules shows how a handful of thoughtful principles can not only sharpen the quality of your decisions, but also allow you to maintain latitude in your judgments and to see the richness of opportunity. We all deal with complexity now, and this book will show you how you can do more with less.”—Michael J. Mauboussin, Head of Global Financial Strategies, Credit Suisse

"Our future will be increasingly complex, from accelerating technological change to global connectivity of federated teams.  Simple Rules explains how we can manage to make meaningful progress in a world that exceeds human understanding. At DFJ, we use simple rules, like "invest in unique ideas" to support breakout winners across multiple industries undergoing profound disruption.  This is a harbinger of the information economy to come." —Steve Jurvetson, Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson

“Sull and Eisenhardt have written the definitive playbook injecting sanity, creativity, and productivity into our workplaces and the other spheres of our lives.   SIMPLE RULES is brimming with clever and surprising tips, lovely stories, and compelling research that will help you spot unnecessary complexity, eliminate maddening frustration, make the right decisions faster, and have a whole lot more fun along way.“   —Robert I. Sutton, bestselling author of The No Asshole Rule and co-author of Scaling up Excellence